Family

The Madrids // Family Session

My pile of good blogging intentions has been patiently sitting in the corner of my room since September, waiting to be dusted off. It's over there along with my organize the linen closet to-do list, and purge the kids' dressers sticky note. You know, all the things I could get done if time, energy, and willpower all somehow self-aligned? I don't foresee it all happening today, but I am finally sharing this family session from the fall, so that's a start! 

My hands-down favorite place to photograph families is at home. I think it's easy to see why. Kids are usually most comfortable there, surrounded by familiarity and their favorite things. Parents are more relaxed because all they have to do is open the door when I knock, rather than load up and hope the kids stay happy and clean in the car. Don't get me wrong, I love pockets of woods and quaint neighborhood ice cream shops, too...they just don't come with quite the same kind of comfort and memories of home. For the Madrid family, these photographs will be a reminder of how Ben wouldn't walk down the stairs without holding dad's hand; mama will look at them and remember what it was like to rock her baby on that front porch chair. That's my hope. 

Tallulah // Newborn Session

Because of my prolonged break from blogging, I have a heap of sessions to share from the past year-and-a-half. Pay no attention to the fact that this girl is now 16 months old, and instead focus on how sweet and tiny she used to be! A benefit of photographing the babes of friends is getting to watch them grow in real time. "Baby Tallulah" as my kids still call her, is becoming much less baby these days, and that newborn hair that looked brown is now full-on blonde.

Everis // Six Months

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated 12 years of marriage. If someone would have told us twelve years ago that someday we would have four children, I'm not sure we would have believed it. Four would have seemed like a lot. And it is. In fact, I cried for a solid week when I took that positive test last April. Just that morning, we had been laying out our plans for the future and another baby was honestly not in my plan. Pregnancy is uncomfortable, birth is painful, and newborn sleepless nights are downright exhausting. But God's plans? They have been proven better than mine yet again. 

This baby girl has brought so much joy into our home. Adored by her three older siblings, and always ready to smile, she is simply a delight. The capacity of the human heart to grow with the addition of each child is baffling to me. You think with the first, there's no possible way you can love another child the same. Then the second comes along, and he's just as adored as the first. Then again it happens with the third, and now fourth. So yes, four kids would have seemed impossible twelve years ago. But goodness..I'm so glad that my plans didn't work out. 

Everis Anne Barker, you're pretty great.

Gabriella // Newborn Session

I'm slowly making my way through past sessions and finding time to share them here.  This is beautiful Gabriella, born last September.  She looks so much like her daddy, and big sister looks like mama. 

Lisa, the lovely mama, introduced me to essential oils last year.  If you're interested in learning more about them or need to purchase some, feel free to visit Lisa's DoTerra site here.

Our Days Lately

Our days have looked a lot like this lately.  Simple.  Messy.  Mundane.  

I spend almost all day, every day with my kids.  And if I'm honest, sometimes it's really hard.  I'm asked constantly for snacks, drinks, books to be read, help with a craft.  I sweep our floor at least twice a day and load and unload the dishwasher just as often.  It can become very monotonous, boring even.  In the past, I've made a few feeble attempts at documenting our days, whether by a 365 days or 52 week project or the like but can never seem to keep on track with them.  So I've taken up just keeping my camera out, ready for the mundane moments when my heart tends towards complaint.  In those moments, I snap a picture.  Then, I'm able to look at these photographs a few days later and realize that yes,

Our days have looked a lot like this lately.  Long. Lovely. Worth it.

Buddies

These five have been buddies since birth.  One of the hardest parts of our move back to Houston was leaving such dear friends in Dallas.  Explaining to our kids (even three months later) that we can't just go over to their houses on a whim is sad, but when we do have a chance to see them it's like they haven't missed a beat.  And while we know new friendships are already being built here, there will always be something extra sweet about these.  

Maybe, just maybe, someday some of these snapshots will be part of a rehearsal dinner slideshow.  That would be a fun story to tell. 

Of Pictures Past // A New Series

I don't have any first day of school pictures to share today, but it should come as no surprise that I take a lot of pictures of my kids.  Sometimes I quickly share them on various social media platforms, but mostly they sadly end up in folders on my computer.  I sort through them every once in a while and reminisce on months and years gone by when my babies were still babies, momentarily escaping the fact that they're becoming less baby every day.  

From June 2012, Eisley was 2 1/2 and Easton was 15 months.

From June 2012, Eisley was 2 1/2 and Easton was 15 months.

For one more year they will spend their days with me.  We'll take trips to parks and museums, meet friends for picnics, and have mid-morning dance parties in our pajamas.  These days are sweet and they pass by faster than I care to admit.  I'll continue to photograph our adventures, but I have intent to share them more.  Not because anyone (other than grandmothers) may be particularly interested in seeing all the small moments of our lives, but because those small moments turn into days and weeks and months and years and they shape these little souls.   Someday my babies will be big and I want to remember all the small moments that got them there. 

That's the beauty of photography.  It gives us visual representation of a mind full of memories. The photographs aren't of more importance than the actual doing, just a gift to help remember what's been done.  So, I hope you'll oblige me as I begin a series of posts of pictures past. Nestled among peeks of current client sessions, I'll be sharing some of my favorite personal photos from the past few years (yes, years).  

And to those who sent kids off to school today, I'm shedding a tear along side you just thinking about the future.  In the spirit of school pictures, here's a little throwback to two years ago when these two went to "school" for the first time.   

 

Chubby Easton in a backpack and Eisley's short curls...be still my heart.  August 2012.

Chubby Easton in a backpack and Eisley's short curls...be still my heart.  August 2012.

Everett // Newborn Session

Another baby boy for some of our very best friends, this is Everett.  Doesn't he looks just like his daddy and brothers {see last image at the bottom}?  We love this sweet family so much and are so grateful to have good friends to raise our family with.  Welcome to the world, brave Everett!!

Titus // Newborn Session

Last week was a busy week for me, photographing 3 newbies.  Even though it's been a few months since my last blog post, I hope to share each of last week's baby boys with you.  First off, meet sweet little Titus.  He is the first of 8 close friends of mine that are having baby boys in the next few months, making our baby girl (due in 6 weeks) the solo girl of the bunch.  I always feel honored when friends ask me to photograph their little ones.  I was able to witness (and photograph) big brother Luke's birth, but didn't make it to the hospital quite quick enough for Titus.  But, since I just so happened to be visiting Houston when he was born, thankfully I was able to do a quick session for them before heading home.  What a joy.

Feel free to take a peek at brother Luke's newborn session here.  

Bless you, sweet friends and your handsome baby boy.  Love you guys.

Starting the School Discussion

Yesterday, my kids, along with countless others, started their first day of school.  In reality, it's a 5 hour, one-day-a-week Mother's Day Out program that we're calling "school", or as I have deemed it "mommy-gets-a-break-day".  And while our kids are still a few years away from the traditional kindergarten age, we've recently started the discussion about how our kids will be educated.  It is a decision that we do not take lightly, and one that deserves a fair amount of discussion.

We live in a country where education is highly valued and pursued.  In the US, we pay taxes so that our children can receive 13 years of free public school, a privelege not experienced in a large part of the world.  We have several friends that work in the public, private and charter school systems, so we know there are men and women who would invest well in our children.  But are those reasons enough to make a decision on how, why and where our children will be educated?  In these most formative years of our childrens' beings, what should be the source of their understanding of the world as God made it?  There isn't a simple answer.

Instead, we have made a list of questions to help us begin to navigate the waters of this decision, knowing that more specific questions will need to be answered as well:

  • What does the Bible say about knowledge, wisdom, and education?
  • What is the role of knowledge/education? What is it's purpose and/or intended outcome? 
  • Does the ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a godly life depend on a certain level of education?
  • What role, as parents, do we play in raising up our children in knowledge?  What are our biblically appointed duties in that regard?
  • Thinking outside of the traditional classroom setting, what other sources are there for gaining knowledge?
  • What feasible options are there for education?  {Taking into account the cost of tuition, time, and location.}

In order to answer these foundation questions, we plan to consult a few resources from sources far more knowledgeable than us on this topic.  As publically educated parents who were not raised in Christian homes, Brandon and I need outside opinion on this matter.  In future posts, I plan to share our answers to these questions as we move along in the process, in case there are others who may be facing the same decision.  In the meantime, here are a few of the resources I've been recommended:

Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson

The Case for Classical Christian Education by Douglas Wilson

How Classical Education Shapes Us as God Intended by Bradley Green {via the Gospel Coalition} 

Think by John Piper

If you have a resource you would like to share on the topic of schooling, please leave a comment below.  I would especially love to hear about homeschooling resources. 

And finally, a picture of Eisley and Easton on their first day of school: